Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tall Storey

Out again with Derek today, we thought we should check out the new multi pitch route in Echo Canyon. "Tall Storey" is the name and it was established over the last 5 years by the Perry family. It tackles the right hand, shady side of the Canyon and you can see the town of Canmore from start to finish. Since the route is completely bolted you only need to bring 10 quick draws and a single 60m rope. We decided to walk off but rappelling is no problem either. The 7 pitches are predominantly 10+/11- climbing on excellent rock, with the crux pitch 2 in the 11c range. The line should become a classic pretty soon and is perfect for these hot summer days.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

new test piece on Yam

Today Derek Galloway rewrote history on Yamnuska and red pointed the so far hardest route on the cliff. "Blue Jeans" goes something like 12a/b, 12c/d, 12c, 13a, 13b, 11d and 10 something. It took him 5 days within the last 6 weeks or so in less than ideal conditions, which is a real good effort in my opinion. Since I don't have a single picture of the climb from the 2 days I spent up there with him I put in a couple pictures from yesterdays full moon mood and from my lovely daughter Bella this morning. Although I took the shot at 9a.m., she is already in her 3rd outfit.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Another year went by in a hurry and today I turned 41. When I turned 40 last year I had a bit of hard hard time accepting that I got older and I'm probably not the only one that feels this way. The phenomena is called mid life crises and it happens to everyone out there sooner or later. In an effort to overcome my "crises" I set myself a bunch of personal goals on my 40 B-day last year, the few I achieved I will list below, the ones I didn't (and there are lot's) I keep for myself.
-climb a solid 8a without too much projecting
-climb an M10 without too much projecting
-climb a hard multi pitch water fall ice route with alpine character
-on sight a 5.12 multi pitch
-free solo a long 5.10 alpine rock route
-guide a week of ski touring
-spend more time with my lovely family
-survive all of the above
The pics below are from my B-day party last year in Austria. 20 of my my best friends from the "old days" had a get together at a private alpine hut and we had ourselves a grand catch up. With the aid of beer, wine and schnapps we even got to sing the best mountaineering songs of the old days, and in our minds the even sounded great. A night I will never forget and a big thank to everyone who made it happen!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Zig Zag

Up on Yamnuska for the 3rd time this year, Andrew wanted to check out Zig Zag, a route his buddy Jon Walsh put up a few years back now. The few who did it so far reported good rock and airy positions, as it turned out they were right. Definitely a nice addition to the Bowl Wall with mainly sport climbing character. 10 draws, a couple of small cams and a set of nuts will do fine for adequate protection. We rappeled the nearby "Greyscale" with a 70m single rope, which brings you back to the Base in half an hour. The hike to the base is really pretty right now, every plant is soaked in rich green and the montaine flowers are in full bloom. Lady Slipper, Wood Lilly and Indian Paintbrush to name a few.

Andrew has put up a lot more and better images on his blog., which is a recommended read for people playing in the Rockies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raven Crag

This morning I joined Derek and Todd to go to Raven Crag above Banff. For some reason I never made it up there in all those years of climbing in the Bow Valley. The cliff sits 40 min. up on Sulphur Mountain overlooking Banff and the Vermillion Lakes and is always in the shade due to it's NW facing exposure. There is only a small selection of hard routes, but most of them are reported to be excellent. Unfortunately we picked the wrong day, most of the cliff was seeping due to the recent heavy rain storms, and even the dry holds had a smeary feeling, which forced us to over grip. Since this was not much fun, we packed her in after two climbs and I went back home, where I focused on my never ending construction site. I'll be back though to give the cliff another chance to win my heart.This is Derek on "the Mask" 12d/13a, he was the only one to send it. I was challenged enough to red point to the first anchor, which is probably a soft 12a.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Amazing weekend in the Rockies

Finally the rain gave away to some blue skies over the weekend. I was fortunate to climb 3 consecutive days with a verity of motivated partners and goals. Saturday I went to the Lake with Derek, Todd and Luka. I took it easy and climbed a bunch of nice elevens, Luka got to climb a few burns too, but the rest of the day he got to play hard with his buddies Lukas and Isaac.
Sunday I finally got the opportunity, a special thanks to Ladykiller Andrew Wexler btw, to red point the Full Scared Peaches, an old project of mine which I checked out a few years ago with Jeff Relph and instantly fell in love with. This line is probably the best single trad pitch I've ever climbed. Since I'm not much of a trad specialist though, this comment does not mean much. Nevertheless, this 45m line on the Air Voyage wall at the Back of the Lake is probably one of the best single pitch trad lines in it's grade, at least in the Rockies. The only downside of the route are the 4 bolts in the upper part, which sorta give a bit of a bitter taste to the upper part. Although they come in really handy when checking out the route ground up, they should be unneccessary on a "true" redpoint ascent, since the gear up there is adequate. Having said that, I should make this as my goal the next time I get a chance, I'm already shitting my pants thinking about it though.
Below a few impressions of climbers around us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cerro Torre - never ending controversy

For those who have not heard already, this is one of many links to the latest, greatest uproar down there in Patagonia. Check out Will Gadds blog for updates on the issue.

Monday, June 14, 2010

magic evening light

After a whole day of rain a little window last evening allowed me to make these shots from my back deck. 10 minutes after I took them it was pissing again, so not enough time to set up the tripod.This picture below certainly has the look as if it's photoshopped, but it's completely unaltered.

sunshine again

Finally, after another week of rain we got blessed with a couple of nice days over the weekend. The last rain shower went through town Friday evening and said good bye to the bad weather with this rainbow east of town.
Saturday I went with Derek up to the Lookout, where we enjoyed the Sunshine amongst 20 other climbers. This is definitely a new record for this area, usually you are up there alone. therefore I got a chance to photograph some other faces, which was a nice treat. Unfortunately their outfits match the ones from my regular climbing partners, so the climber as the main object does not stand out as much as you hope for. Thanks Scott, no shirt is better than a grey one, maybe Catherine (shown above on Midget, a popular 11b warm up) can do the same the next time as an eye candy.
Sunday I joined Andrew Wexler for a training day at Back of the Lake. The weekend combined with the beautiful weather certainly draw the crowds to this popular spot, but we still managed to get a big day of climbing in, I'm still sore from the strenuous climbing there. We were the last climbers to walk out and we got to see a Grizzly bear mum with two cute cubs, the first ones for me this year and hopefully the last. The result of the two day weather window: 20 pitches of sport climbing in the 11b to 12c range, which should give my weak endurance a bit of a boost. Looks like we are in for another week of rain though.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Buffet Royale

The weather really sucks right now, my last day out was 5 days ago and I'm getting a bit itchy. Last week I managed to get a couple good days of climbing in at the upper Lookout with Scott and Todd. Besides climbing a lot of other new routes in the 5.12 range, I got a chance to give Buffet Royale a closer look again. What a great route and a truly awesome 45m long journey. I've been on it a few times last September, but a very cold October shut down the climbing season in the Bow Valley.The picture above shows main developer Greg Toss on the lower crux sequence, and the picture below shows Derek on the upper crux, which is a bit of a Nemesis for me. Last time I fell exactly on that move and will probably fail a bunch more times. At least it happens after 40m of climbing and although you fail on the red point, you still feel like you have climbed a big route.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

gray on grey

Despite some pretty bad weather lately I got lucky on a couple of climbing days with weather and partners. This is a picture of Todd a few days ago at the Hideaway, the area at the entrance to Echo Canyon. Excellent, compact limestone with about 20 hard to read routes in the 5.11 to 12 range. Surprisingly I've only climbed a couple of routes there so far a few years back, although I must have walked by the cliff on the way to the Coliseum or the Lookout at least 40 times by now. This time around we finally made the Hideaway our destination, and we climbed a few really good routes up there. Still a lot to explore so close to home.Since Ryan was with us I had a chance to try out my lens a bit, but after the gray fashion show of my conservative Canadian climbing partners I gave up pretty quick. A picture without colors is like a dead desert, nothing there of interest. The picture above gives you at least an idea of the excellent rock quality of the featured stone you can encounter up there.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Lens and soccer...

This morning after I returned from gymnastics with Bella I received my long awaited 70-200 IS lens from Canon. Finally the lens I can do better close ups with a deeper depth of field. I was always a fan of capturing the landscape surrounding the main object, which becomes actually less dominant in the overall picture. My most favourite climbing shots are usually wide angle.This evenings soccer game from Luka was the first test ground for the lens and considering the bad light she did pretty well I thought.
Luka was the dominant player on the team and shot 3 goals, no wonder Papa is very proud right now.

Bella watching her big brother at the soccer game.